When you are a baby, you are given 4 injections to kickstart your immunity against the big bad world. At one year old, you are given more. When you go away to anywhere tropical, you get more shots.
Vaccines are one of the many things that can divide a community. With the anti-vaxxers and the pro-vaccine groups at each other’s throats, it seems like neither will find common ground. When my sister nearly died from a bad reaction to her baby vaccines, my mother and I found that no-mans land between the two groups.
We knew the benefits of vaccines, but a close brush with death had made us ask whether they were truly necessary. My youngest sister doesn’t have any of her top-up vaccines and other than a bit of asthma, she’s incredibly healthy.
I myself don’t have my human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which is now issued to teenage girls to battle cervical cancer. It was a personal choice that I was harassed for in my teenage years. “You’re gonna get cancer,” they’d yell at me and the only other girl who didn’t get it, a Jehovahs Witness, who also didn’t believe in deodorant.
When I arrived at university, vaccines were brought up once more. Meningitis was looming within student halls and wiping out unsuspecting sleepers. A quick Google search will show the case of Lauren Sandell who unfortunately died from the virus in 2016.
Many are now calling for students to have all their shots before beginning their studies. Instead of going to the doctor before a trip to China, you’ll be rolling up for your injections before you head to university. So unbelievable it sounds fake.
When asked, most students are in favour of the idea, but many are also very liberal. and opinionated. We could end up in a dystopian world where there are two schools separating the two groups.
Rather than enforcing that all students should have updated vaccines before uni, we should be teaching students to be clean, eat healthily and look after their bodies. This will easily decline the health issues surrounding students. Vaccines should definitely be offered and made available, but making them compulsory will only cause a harder divide.
So for now, instead of rushing to the doctors when you get a little unwell, build up your immune system by going outside.